Niacinamide and Vitamin C: Benefits for Your Skin

Niacinamide and vitamin C are two popular ingredients that you can use to improve the health of your skin. Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and is an ingredient used in topical skincare products. Vitamin C is commonly found in drinks or vitamin supplements but can also be found in serums or solutions for topical application, too. What many people don't know is that both are good for the skin and can help fight acne and make your skin look its healthiest. While both have benefits for skin health, they need to be applied differently. Find out more about how the two can work together to help your skin.

What is vitamin C and how can it help your skin?

Vitamin C is an antioxidant which means that it has the ability to neutralize harmful free radicals before they damage your body. Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells causing illness or aging. So when the body ages, it is these free radicals doing damage to your skin's cells by taking electrons from the cells around them. When oxygen molecules lose an electron to these free radicals, they become free radicals and then try to find other substances to bond to. This process is called oxidative stress and can lead to a number of degenerative diseases and also signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C neutralizes these free radicals by donating one of its electrons to the radical, stopping the process of oxidative stress, which in turn can help deter wrinkles. Now that we know the benefits of vitamin C for our skins let's take a look at the other ingredient, Niacinamide.

What is Niacinamide? 

Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide and a form of vitamin B3, is a water-soluble form of niacin. It can be dissolved in or transported easily through the body by way of fluids like blood and other bodily substances. The human body converts niacin into Niacinamide when necessary but it’s not always enough for optimal health needs.

But how does Niacinamide help your skin?

Scientists have theorized that Niacinamide helps the skin because it is a precursor to two molecules that are crucial to several processes in the cells, including repairing, propagating, and other normal functions. By providing these precursor building blocks to this process, it is thought that your body will take these and make more of the two molecules. This, in turn, promotes healthy cells to spread and allows your body to naturally neutralize free radicals which can cause premature aging.

So now that we know how it works, we can see the benefits to the skin that Niacinamide offers. These benefits include: 

  • A decrease in hyperpigmentation, the dark spots on your face, caused by sun exposure.
  • An improvement of the appearance of acne scars.  
  • Niacinamide promotes smoother looking skin with fewer wrinkles. 
  • A stimulation of blood circulation and an improvement in microcirculation in your facial skin by decreasing capillary fragility. This results in making tiny red veins less noticeable under direct sunlight. 
  • An increase in the skin's natural moisture content and reduction of sebum production on the skin. Sebum is the natural oil your body produces in the sebaceous glands next to your hair follicles and the main source of clogged pores that can cause acne. Reducing sebum also helps you to have less oily skin. 
  • Niacinamide helps to improve uneven skin tone by evening out pigmentation. This is due to Niacinamide's ability as a precursor of prostaglandins which are involved with inflammation and vascular regulation (i.e., they cause blood vessels to relax). 
  • It slows down or stops the creation of melanin-producing cells called melanocytes.  
  • It helps your skin by increasing the production of ceramides which are necessary for healthy skin cells and skin barrier function (your outer layer of skin). 

As you can see, Niacinamide offers a wide array of benefits for your skin and even helps prevent acne. We have seen how Niacinamide and vitamin C work separately, but how can you use them together? We will answer that question and provide links for you to purchase the two products after talking with your doctor or pharmacist and determining if the two are right for you.  

What is the difference between Niacinamide and niacin? 

Although both play similar roles in the body, niacin and Niacinamide are not the same thing. Both are vitamin B3 components, and Niacinamide is derived from niacin, which is also known as nicotinic acid. 

The biggest difference between the two is that Niacinamide will not cause "skin flushing," which makes Niacinamide the medicine used when treating pellagra, a condition when your body lacks vitamin B3. Both provide benefits to your body including niacin's ability as a precursor to prostaglandins, reduction in cholesterol levels, improvement of blood sugar regulation, and even improved cognitive functioning. Niacin plays an important role in energy metabolism by acting as a coenzyme or sometimes even taking necessary enzymes' place within certain reactions involving glucose conversion into energy that can be used throughout your day. 

There is another noticeable difference between the two vitamins: while niacin possesses many positive aspects for your skin, niacinamide has niacin's ability to improve cognitive functioning and regulate glucose levels. It also helps out with the production of ceramides that are needed for healthy skin cells and barrier function. So while both are beneficial to the skin, niacinamide does a little extra and also can help treat a vitamin B3 deficiency, known as pellagra, without causing skin flushing. 

Can you mix Niacinamide and Vitamin C? 

Yes, niacin is converted into Niacinamide when necessary but not always enough for optimal health needs while vitamin C can help your body fight free radicals by donating one of its electrons, which in turn stops oxidative stress from happening. This process can cause wrinkles, so if you can stop oxidative stress then you may see fewer wrinkles. 

Both vitamins are available without a prescription in topical and pill form. In addition to these two supplements, your dermatologist may recommend other products like retinol to help with your acne problem too. Never use any products together without consulting your dermatologist first before taking any new drug to determine what is best for you!

Where can I buy Niacinamide and Vitamin C?

You can buy Niacinamide and vitamin C over-the-counter at any pharmacy, and vitamin C is also widely available at grocery stores. If you would like the discretion of medicines showing up right at your door and the convenience of an online consultation with a medical professional, look no further than our partners below. They all offer consultations online to see what will work best for your skin and their medical professionals can write prescriptions. All three sites offer Niacinamide while only forhims.com and forhers.com offer a vitamin C serum too. 

Hims 

Hers 

Nava MD

Summary

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help neutralize free radicals in your body and help slow down the aging process. Niacinamide is a derivative of niacin and can also be used to help your skin's appearance. Both vitamins are widely available at your local pharmacy and online for those who prefer the convenience of buying products without leaving home. We hope this article helped you learn more about Niacinamide and vitamin C and the benefits for your skin of using them together. If you take any new medication consult your physician or pharmacist first to ensure the safest and best results.

Sources: 

NIH – Potential effects of the combination of nicotinamide, vitamin B2 and vitamin C on oxidative-mediated hepatotoxicity induced by thioacetamide

Harvard Health Publishing – Skin serum: What it can and can’t do

MedlinePlus – Niacinamide 

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